In support of a great cause
We, Indians are fiercely protective about everything that belongs to us. Family, friends, car, house, pets. You name it and we will jump to protect it. I have always found this to be one of our biggest strengths. It gives us the power to not let go. To hold on. To fight more for what is ours.
Our current Minister of Textiles Department in the Government of India, Mrs. Smriti Irani, has just done that. The remarkable effort of creating National Handloom Day, is a way of protecting what is ours. Though it was celebrated in 2015, it is the #iwearhandloom concept, that just brightened the day.
India, as a nation is extremely proud of it’s culture and heritage. And why shouldn’t we? Don’t we have the most versatile and diverse mix of the same? We are known worldwide for the same. Then why shouldn’t we let the world know what all we own?
We have weavers, who are working hard each day to create that perfect, unadulterated piece of Handloom for us. From muga silk and eri of Assam, to the tie and dyes of Rajasthan and Gujarat, from Chanderi of Madhya Pradesh to Kanchipuram weaves of Tamil Nadu. The scope and variety is immense. Someone just needed to open the door, so that there would be enough light on the same.
Today, I write, because I support those innumerable weavers, who are hiding in the dark. They are weaving for us, but it is all unnoticed. By driving a campaign, we not only revolutionize Indian Handloom, we become the source of income for an industry which can be easily the second largest, after agriculture!
There is a lot that is being battled in this industry. The whole emergence of Powerloom, is the greatest hindrance. The Powerloom industry will never want the Handloom industry to grow. They create 60-70% of the products. That is a big deal! For years, the industry has been oppressed by innumerable middlemen, who have done everything to not let the weavers get their due. But how long can you keep their genuine talent away? How long can we not see the real heroes?
What do we need?
With modernization, we have all seen the way we look at Handloom. Not everyone wants to wear a saree or a salwar suit made in Handloom. Wearing indian wear does not mean, you are wearing HANDLOOM! What we need is, innovation. There are so many designers out there, who are breaking the code. Taking Handloom to the next level. It is not just being used to produce traditional wear; shirts, stoles, dresses, trousers, tops, capes, you name it, and they have it! This is what we need.
There is a huge market out there for people who would love to wear Indian fabrics but in modern cuts. It not just offers comfort and is eco-friendly, but it is trendy and makes a statement. A great example is that of Khadi. Khadi has been used fabulously by politicians, designers and those who wear Handloom. The amount of influential marketing that Khadi has got, boosted it to a different level altogether. Our Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi, has become an indirect brand ambassador for the same. With Khadi, people have explored to go beyond traditional. This kind of boost is what this industry needs.
We need to give a shout out to what is truly ours. We need global recognition. Because we deserve it. There are so many designers, who are reviving the age old handloom through their works and taking it globally. For example, Shravan Kumar Ramaswamy, specializes only in Handloom. He has taken his designs from Paris to New York Fashion Week.
People globally, crave to see the authentic Indian Handloom. Because, India is Handloom. And no one knows this better than we Indians. We have felt it, worn it, experienced it and it is available to is in abundance. Then who do you think are the true brand ambassadors for Handloom? Yes, it is we Indians. It is we who need to take pride in what we own. In what is ours. Wear it. Flaunt it. Make it a trend that will never fade out.
How will I contribute?
I am glad, that my mother has been collecting Handloom sarees over the years. Thankfully, a lot has been passed down to me. The one that I am wearing today was bought from the Handloom Emporium in Calcutta. She owns almost one saree from each state. For me, she is my idol.
However, like I mentioned before, we all are bitten by the bug of modernization. I am myself a very contemporary person. I am fond of quirky and contemporary styles. But that cannot stop me from contributing to the Indian Handloom Industry. Our weavers need support and it is only us who can give them that.
The Handloom sarees that have been passed onto me, will now go into revival. I am no designer. A simple blogger who needs to pass the right message. But I will be cutting through those sarees and creating modern contemporary outfits. This will not only spread the message, but will give me a sense of satisfaction, that yes, I am practicing what I am preaching.
Apart from this, I intend to reach out to weavers directly, without any middlemen. In my own small way, I would help them by buying from them. This will give them a boost and also their due. I hope a lot of you’ll will try and do the same. I know it is not possible for everyone to reach out directly to weavers, but almost every major city has Handloom Emporiums. Maybe your next buy could be from there 🙂
#iwearhandloom and I wear with a lot of pride.